Today’s EE Answer: Migrating from old server running Microsoft SBS 2003 SP1 to new hardware running SBS 2003 R2

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Migrating from old server running Microsoft SBS 2003 SP1 to new hardware running SBS 2003 R2

Question: Will I run into problems migrating an old server running Small Business Server 2003 SP1 to a brand new server running Small Business Server 2003 R2 SP2?

My client doesn’t want to upgrade the old server (software or hardware) because “it has problems” (but they won’t tell me what).

I plan on following this guide:  http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsServerSolutions/SBS/en/library/a340742f-042e-48da-b865-5244bee1000f1033.mspx?mfr=true

My big concern is that the new server runs R2. Will I run into problem with that? Do I need to update the AD Schema for R2?

Thanks for anything you can add to help.

 

Comment from TechSoEasy:

That guide was just published this week and it seems like a good method.

There’s no problem going from SBS 2003 SP1 to SBS 2003 R2 because the R2 components are installed AFTERWARDS. The new server won’t be running SBS at all when you start the process described in that guide. If it is OEM, you need to reformat the disk and reinstall per the steps described.

Jeff

 

Comment from MPECSInc:

Try looking into another method that works really well and is tried, tested and true: http://www.sbsmigration.com.

A Swing Migration works really well, is quite simple to do as long as you follow the steps, and involves very little down time … especially when migrating to new server hardware.

Reading over the document you mention … as we too are evaluating the procedure … we are not putting too much effort into it because Swing Migrations are a lot simpler to accomplish than the steps required by the MS Migration Paper.

Make sure you have a good backup before running either procedure.

Philip

 

Comment from the Author – joshsfinn:

TechSoEasy –

Please elaborate more for me. The client bought a new server and is installing from a CD that is SBS 2003 R2 (as far as I know) up to the point of joining it to the domain. That’s where I’m supposed to take over.

From the guide I linked in my question, step 2 says:

_____________

Step 2. Install Windows Small Business Server 2003 and join the domain

In this step, you install Windows SBS 2003 and join the domain by completing the following tasks:

* Start Windows SBS 2003 Setup on the destination server.

* Join the destination server to the domain.

* blah blah blah

_____________

I don’t follow you when you say “The new server won’t be running SBS at all when you start the process described in that guide.”

To me it seems like if I’m installing the OS from a SBS 2003 R2 CD, I’m going to end up with SBS 2003 R2 on the new server before the migration has even really begun.

Thanks – sorry if I’m missing something obvious. 🙂

 

Comment from the Author – joshsfinn:

MPECSInc – thanks for your reply also. A Swing migration isn’t out of the question, it just seems like I can do this process fairly easily without it.

We’ll be able to make a better decision after we get our facts straight.

Thanks!

 

Comment from MPECSInc:

Josh,

After working through the logistics of the MS document, a Swing is WAY easier. There is a huge reduction in the number of steps, and the amount of down time relative to the MS document’s method.

Philip

 

Accepted Solution from TechSoEasy:

“The client bought a new server and is installing from a CD that is SBS 2003 R2 (as far as I know) up to the point of joining it to the domain. That’s where I’m supposed to take over.”

I guess you’ve never installed SBS before?

I would first recommend that you do NOT split up the tasks like this. The migration process is one that needs very careful planning and a full understanding of what you’re migrating. If you don’t do Step 1 yourself you will definitely make mistakes with the remainder of the process. You should understand that you MUST complete the migration process in seven days or you will have a MAJOR problem because at that point the “can’t have two SBS Servers on the same network” restriction kicks in.

“To me it seems like if I’m installing the OS from a SBS 2003 R2 CD, I’m going to end up with SBS 2003 R2 on the new server before the migration has even really begun.”

SBS 2003 R2 comes on a set of 5 CD’s. The first one contains primarily Windows Server 2003 which is NON-R2 and will remain as NON-R2 even after you’ve installed SBS’s R2 bits. I know this is a bit confusing and it’s really too bad Microsoft used the “R2” designation on SBS 2003 because it makes folks think that the Windows Server 2003 included in the SBS bundle will be running R2 as well… but it doesn’t.

SBS’s R2 version is primarily the addition of new features (WSUS) and a change in the licensing structure to allow for additional SQL and Exchange servers in the domain without needing separate CALs. The R2 Components are on a separate CD which is installed AFTER you get EVERYTHING in that guide completed.

My second recommendation to you is that if you’ve never installed SBS before you need to do it yourself first before doing this for a client. It’s not at all the same as standard Windows Server 2003 (see my profile for an explanation of this http://e-e.com/M_3383094.html) and it generally takes a few times to fully understand how to get it right. See http://sbsurl.com/3x for more info on that.

I disagree with Philip about which method is better. Even though I haven’t yet tried out this method (since it was just published a few days ago), my first impression is that it’s quite similar. I don’t see the steps or downtime being vastly different, nor do I think that Swing is “WAY” easier. The major difference is that with a Swing Migration, you don’t have the 7-day limit and you have a fully functioning server to go back to in case something goes wrong. If something goes wrong with this method, even if you imaged your original server, you wouldn’t have a current backup to revert to. So that is something to be aware of. But as long as you continue to back everything up as the article describes you should be okay.

I would state that there are other methods for migrating new hardware which I’ve outlined here http://e-e.com/Q_21987041.html. One of which is using Acronis True Image, which is my preferred method of hardware migration. It works great and can be done in a few hours.

Jeff

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